2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybridstars
Infiniti's new premium hybrid model uses innovative drive-by-wire tech in its steering...
2014 Tesla Model Sstars
With its electric drivetrain and a unique take on how you interact with the car, the Tesla...
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingraystars
Faced with 60 years of great Corvette models, Chevy managed to make a new generation of...
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550stars
The 2014 S550 is an automotive tech juggernaut, featuring every latest advance Mercedes-Benz...
With a twin-turbo diesel engine, the 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d lacks the immediate acceleration of the car, the diesel drives and sounds like a fast tractor.we tested previously, but BMW handling characteristics are there in full force, and the improved fuel economy is a bonus. This full-size SUV features all-wheel drive, and the diesel engine gives it the torque to handle some heavy-duty work. Where the gas version drove like a sports
One big disappointment in the cabin was the old version of iDrive. The week before reviewing the X5 xDrive35d, we spent some time with the, the diesel version of the 3-series. That car had BMW's radical reworking of iDrive, which proved an excellent interface, and made going back to the old version painful.
On the road
Although we hate the old iDrive interface, its cabin applications are generally good, so when we took the X5 xDrive35d out for test driving, an iPhone was tethered to the iPod connector and simultaneously paired to the Bluetooth phone system. The phone system in particular works well, making all contacts from the phone available on the car's LCD.
Creeping through city streets, the X5 xDrive35d 's engine sounded like farm machinery, and acceleration was hardly quick, showing noticeable lag before it got up and went. The steering also felt a little loose, something surprising in a BMW. But the tall front seats proved very comfortable, wrapping us in adjustable bolsters.
Once we found the map in the horrible iDrive menu, it showed traffic on all the freeways around, helping us find clear roads.
And it was on those clear roads that the X5 xDrive35d finally started acting like a BMW. Our car was equipped with Automatic Damping Control, a feature that brings in a sport button for the suspension.
On the freeway, with the engine running past its lag point, it was easy to get some real acceleration. And that acceleration didn't want to quit, either, pulling strongly well towards the triple digits.
And the X5 xDrive35d got even better after an exit out onto twisty mountain roads. Popping the weird-looking shifter into Sport mode-- a complement to the suspension's Sport mode--the tachometer showed higher engine speeds, giving more immediate power to rush the turns.
Even with the transmission's Sport mode, we couldn't let the speed drop too much before a turn, or the car would be stuck in lagsville. But going in with some speed meant the X5 xDrive35d showed its true colors, staying flat as the g-forces attempted to pull it over. Under these circumstances, it cornered like a champ, making us think it would be best to tackle the densest city streets as if we were on a racetrack.
In the cabin
There are things we like about the 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d's cabin tech, such as the wide screen set into the dashboard, with its assistance screen off to the side. You can, for example, set it to show trip information in one side and a map on the other.
Other uniquely BMW features are the star and diamond buttons on the steering wheel, which can be set to a number of different functions, such as showing the phone book or changing audio sources.